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How to Attract Butterflies, Hummingbirds and Birds to Your Garden

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You can grow your own butterfly garden or humming bird garden.

Have you ever noticed how butterflies in your yard seem to fly around certain flowers, and sometimes those aren’t the flowers in your garden. Butterflies, hummingbirds and birds like certain flowers and certain areas of a yard. Growing flowers and plants that attract them is easy, just pick the right flowers and pick the right spot in your yard.

Picking the right spot

Picking the right spot for your garden is important, but not hard. You don’t want a high traffic area like next to a door where everyone runs in and out. And you don’t want an area where the dog runs through all the time or is their favorite spot. Butterflies don’t like a windy area where they have to constantly fight the wind too much. They do like a sunny area for at least part of the day, maybe 5 to 6 hours of sun. Of course that helps the flowers grow as well. Butterflies need to warm up by resting in a sunny area, that’s why you never see butterflies on a cloudy day. Maybe put some flagstones throughout the garden or some wood such as railroad ties. Butterflies like and need water as well, putting some source of water will keep them from having to fly away looking for water. You could build just a little holding area of water out of stones or a couple of these within the flowers.

Flowers that attract butterflies

When you plant your flowers don’t bunch them up tightly, let the air flow through them and have areas in between the flowers for the butterflies to get their water and sit in the sun. Make it a colorful display of flowers since butterflies are attracted to certain colors. The favorite colors are red, pink, purple, yellow and orange. Butterflies like to land or perch on flowers, so they like the types of flowers that are flat open flowers. Below is a list of flowers that butterflies like:

Aster, Blanket Flower, Black-eyed Susan, Buddleia, Butterfly Bush or Butterfly Weed, Chickweed, Coreopsis, Cosmos, Cushion Mum Daisy, Daylilies, Dogbane, Dogwood, Fleabane, Goldenrod, Grape Hyacinth, Ice Plant, Joe Pye Weed, Lantana, Lavender, Mallow, Marigold, Milkweed, Mustard, Pepperbush, Phlox, Privet, Purple Coneflower, Red Clover, Redbud, Rosemary, Shepard's Needle, Strawberry, Sunflower, Thistle, Verbena, Vetch, Viburnum, Violet, Wild Rose, Winter Cress and Zinnia.

Photo by sskennel/flickr.com

Flowers that attract hummingbirds

The flowers that attract butterflies aren’t necessarily the same that attract hummingbirds. The color red is a favorite color to attract hummingbirds and they like the bell or tube shaped flowers. Here is a list of hummingbird favorite flowers:

Bee Balm, Red Columbine, Delphinium, Hollyhock, Rose of Sharon, Trumpet vine, Trumpet Honeysuckle, Cardinal Vine, Lantana, Fuchsia, Silk Tree, Petunias, Butterfly Bush, Begonia, Bougainvillea, Hibiscus, Indian Paintbrush, Dahlia, Coral Bells

The butterfly bush is good for attracting both butterflies and hummingbirds. I also remember as a kid there were flowers called Four O’Clocks growing that hummingbirds were always around.

Photo by Suneko/flickr.com

Flowers for birds

With birds it’s not so much the flowers that attract the birds, it’s the seeds they want. Zinnias are very good for butterflies, hummingbirds and birds love these seeds and you should consider them for your garden. You could even devote a patch of your garden for only Zinnias. Here is a list of flowers that attract birds. To attract birds to your garden don’t deadhead the flowers, let the seeds stay and the birds will come and get them, you can deadhead the flowers in the following early spring to get them ready to bloom again. 

Zinnias, Asters, Sunflower, Snapdragon, Calendula, Cornflower, Cockscomb, Larkspur, Purple Coneflower, Cosmos, Larkspur and Coreopsis.

Starting your flower garden

Some of these flowers might have a tendency to spread and be invasive and some of them grow quite tall. And the Lavender after years can almost become a small bush, so think about the future of your garden when planting perennials.

Look at each flower and make sure it wont overtake your garden and that they can grow in your zone. Get the dirt ready and use compost.

Important, you shouldn’t use any kind of pesticides in your garden, you don’t want to harm the butterflies and hummingbirds. And many times the birds in your garden will take care of the harmful pests without you having to use any kind of chemicals.

If you don’t have room for a full flower garden, planting in big pots or a flower box and some hanging baskets would work well and look great.

Sam Montana © 19 December 2008


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Sam Montana

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